Musings on the Flapship First Product

Old Dec 25, 21, 5:20 pm
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Musings on the Flapship First Product

I flew Flagship First from JFK to DEL and back in late Novemver 2021 on the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Here are some thoughts on the product.

Checkin 5/5

Pros: Flagship First checkin at JFK was nothing short of pleasurable. No other passengers in sight, and 2 attendants to dote on us. Finished up in 5 min (in spite of the extra Covid compliance checks), and jumped through the dedicated secuity in another 5 min.

Cons: None

Lounge 5/5

Pros: Another huge win here. The regular Flagship Lounge looked quite full, but the Flagship First Dining Room was empty but for 2 other couples. The dining room could easily have accomodated another 10 people without seeming crowded. The personal service and food quality, though not michelin star, was every bit as good as any neighborhood 4 star resteraunt.

Cons: None

Boarding 1/5

Pros: None

Cons: Group 1 boarding included no less than 30 people. It was crowded, messy and unfriendly; certainly no escort or any special treatment for First Class passengers. It was very stressful until you made the left turn at the aircraft door.

Seat/ Cabin 3/5

Pros: Lots of space for you and your belongings. Ample overhead space, much more than I needed since everyone checked luggage for a flight of this length. 8 passengers and 2 lavatories was nice/

Cons: Little to no privacy. You could put a positive spin on it by saying the cabin exuded feeling of spaciousness, but why can't they at least mimic Air France's cloth curtain around each seat? I imagine FAA/ TSA rules prohibit it? At any rate, I felt very exposed.

Food 2/5

[caveat: I've been sober since June 2019, so the alcohol offerings have no impact on my assessment]

Pros: None

Cons: This was business class food and service. Nothing more, and certainly not haute cuisine. It was served course by course by very kind and attentive attendants, but to call it International First Class quality is misleading.

Bottom Line: I wouldn't pay any more than $500 each way over Flagship Business to ride in Flapship First. I used 2 SWUs in this particular case.
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Last edited by Babu; Dec 26, 21 at 3:24 pm
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Old Dec 25, 21, 5:23 pm
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Like with BA First, you should think of it as a J+ product (for some, worth the upgrade with instruments or miles) and all will make sense ;-)
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Old Dec 25, 21, 9:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Babu View Post
Cons: Group 1 boarding included no less than 30 people. It was crowded, messy and unfriendly; certainly no escort or any special treatment for First Class passengers.
You can always purchase the Five-Star service, which includes an escort to the lounge and from the lounge to the plane. Years ago, this used to be included on some Flagship First routes (IIRC, LAX-SYD/HKG).
IMO they should bring it back, definitely for F fares, maybe for A fares (but perhaps not for upgrades).
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Old Dec 25, 21, 10:25 pm
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I find AA First to be a absolute rubbish product. The seat rocks due to the design of the swivel and that's enough of a reason to not ever choose that seat.

I've chosen J over F recently when the price was the exact same. FFD cannot make that 0/5 seat worth it.
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Old Dec 25, 21, 10:29 pm
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As you stated you used two SWUs and did not pay the full cost in cash. AA cant charge the cost of providing the level of service you are looking for (escorts, world class food,...) if people don't cover the expense of the service.
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Old Dec 26, 21, 6:44 am
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Originally Posted by bgasser View Post
AA cant charge the cost of providing the level of service you are looking for (escorts, world class food,...).
Oh, I knew better than to "look for" any of that; AA EXP veteran here. I merely observed that AA's current product offerings lacked elements of what is arguably the industry norm (LH, AF, SQ, etc.). But no complaints on my part whatsoever.
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Old Dec 26, 21, 6:47 am
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Originally Posted by Antarius View Post
I've chosen J over F recently when the price was the exact same.
If the price is the same, then why choose J over F? Or do you mean J on another carrier vs F on AA (in which case I see your point depending on who the other carrier is)?
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Old Dec 26, 21, 7:40 am
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I stopped using SWU to go from J to F on AA a long time ago... the F product/service is just not worth it..
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Old Dec 26, 21, 7:46 am
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I thought the flagship first cabin was reserved for AA employees only.
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Old Dec 26, 21, 8:57 am
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Originally Posted by enviroian View Post
I thought the flagship first cabin was reserved for AA employees only.
Oh, I get it! Sarcasm!
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Old Dec 26, 21, 9:52 am
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Originally Posted by enviroian View Post
I thought the flagship first cabin was reserved for AA employees only.
Of the 8 passengers east bound, 1 was clearly an employee (he announced it to his seatmate). Not sure on others.

Coming home, 4 were pass riders. A mother and daughter team (they made the daughter switch with me when they initially thought my seat was broken), and another woman with a child of 5 or 6 years of age who were seated far apart from each other.

All of them were very polite and quiet guests.
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Old Dec 26, 21, 10:28 am
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Has long haul J service on AA gone back to individual courses? Last time I flew long haul J on AA, everything was served at once. If that's still the case, technically there is a slight difference in the service between F and J. Admittedly, not much.
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Old Dec 26, 21, 10:41 am
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Originally Posted by Catbert10 View Post
Has long haul J service on AA gone back to individual courses? Last time I flew long haul J on AA, everything was served at once. If that's still the case, technically there is a slight difference in the service between F and J. Admittedly, not much.
yes it’s done in courses again. Bread basket too — not the weaponized roll that was in rotation
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Old Dec 26, 21, 10:43 am
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Originally Posted by Babu View Post
If the price is the same, then why choose J over F? Or do you mean J on another carrier vs F on AA (in which case I see your point depending on who the other carrier is)?
On AA. The J seat has way more privacy, it doesn't rock back and forth.

The soft product is basically identical. So in my mind, it's FFD vs a better seat on deciding on F vs J; the latter is more important to me.
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Old Dec 26, 21, 10:44 am
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Originally Posted by bgasser View Post
As you stated you used two SWUs and did not pay the full cost in cash. AA cant charge the cost of providing the level of service you are looking for (escorts, world class food,...) if people don't cover the expense of the service.
CX has moved me from J to F multiple times for free. Still didn't affect their service.

Regardless, SWU's aren't free. They're earned upgrades for spending a lot of money with AA. If AA can't manage an F service, maybe they should eliminate it as opposed to blaming "freeloaders"
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